As winter folds the earth’s arms inward, our bodies are invited to rest and restore.
How is your rest?
If you don’t feel refreshed after a night’s sleep, or even just relaxing for a short time, this may be part of it—Many of us are still standing, even when we lie down. The patterns of standing and stress have become so knit into how we live, they remain even though we are off our feet.
When we cannot release them, we cannot fully rest.
This happens for a variety of reasons, including chronic survival stress, long-term whiplash, posture or movement habits, or surgeries that created secondary problems, to name a few. Needless to say, modern life creates a host of reasons that we can’t rest.
Modern western industrialized people are rife with injury and pain. Seeing people wearing slings, boots, splints, wraps and braces has become the norm. We’re so used to seeing them that it doesn’t occur to us to wonder what is wrong with this picture. All of this injury is part of a larger issue, but one of them is that our bodies cannot find their healing balance, rather than medical care being better. People cannot rest.
Take heart. You can change that. It is not a life sentence.
I recently read this passage in the book “8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back” by Esther Gokhale and was thrilled that she expressed so well, something I discuss with my students during private sessions and classes.
|“When something goes wrong with our musculo-skeletal systems, we are often directed to muscle strengthening exercise as a solution . . . While we are keenly aware of the need for muscle strength, we may not adequately appreciate the importance of muscle relaxation.
To maintain strength, a muscle must be allowed to relax. Thorough muscle relaxation facilitates good circulation, delivering nutrients and clearing waste products. Many people spend hours tensing their muscles unnecessarily. Often the tension is initiated through poor alignment, then it becomes a habit. Reorganizing skeletal structures can break the cycle, enabling muscles to be relaxed when appropriate and to tense only when needed.”
So as the days get cooler, grayer and shorter, please allow yourself time to drop into resting.
Need a coach to learn to rest better?
If you have an animal in your life, observe what they can teach you about restorative rest. Observe their breathing. Observe the way they conform to the surface they are on. Just watching an animal resting can be enough to elicit a positive response in your own nervous system.
Relearning how to rest is a sweet journey. This journey does not demand perfection. It only asks you to believe that deep rest is worthwhile and important for you. It takes time. But it’s winter, and that’s what winter is for.
If you would like to receive a link to a video about restorative rest, showing you how to literally rest your bones, click here and I will send it to you next week (the week of 11.13.23)